Times are chaotic right now, and very stressful. Instead of focusing on the causes of these stresses, I want my blog to be a place to escape from them. So here’s a short post on how I’ve been managing my stress levels lately, so that you can get some ideas too!
I didn’t do much knitting last year, so I decided to get back into it this year, and it’s been helping me with my stress levels a lot. The rhythmic motion of moving the knitting needles, the soft feeling of the yarn, and the sense that I’m creating something physical are all very calming.
Currently I’m working on knitting a two piece summer set, and I’m looking forward to the finished results. I’m drafting up the pattern as I go along, using my own measurements and guesstimating at things like the rate of decreases.
I know it’s not the best way to make a knitting pattern, but it’s the most fun way I’ve found!
Doing some sort of rhythmic, creative, and physical activity is a huge stress relief. If you’re not interested in knitting then something like sewing, coloring, or crochet will also work.
2. Listening to music
I listen to music a lot, mostly to drown out noises or to have something in the background while working or cooking, but lately I’ve been listening to music just for the sake of listening to music.
I’ve been trying to avoid listening to anything that could worsen my mental state, so I’ve mostly been sticking to pleasant songs from the 30s-50s and some modern dance pop (which brings me to the next thing).
I think I’ve done some dancing every day for the past week or so. I use dancing as a way to warm up before doing calisthenic exercises, and I do a mixture of following along with choreography videos (albeit awkwardly), and just free-styling to certain songs.
I really enjoy dancing since it feels like a celebration of what my body can do, rather than a challenge to see how far I can go, which is what most other exercises feel like to me.
I’ve found combining dancing combined with regular cardio and calisthenic exercising has helped me stay fit and helps elevate my mood. The other exercises that I’ve been doing (mostly ab stuff) have also helped me with my balance, flexibility, and endurance while dancing.
I’m going to be perfectly honest, keeping up with weekly blogging this year has become a struggle for me, so I’ve just been focusing on doing a little bit every day. Some days I do research, on other days I do outlining, writing, editing, or formatting experiments.
Sometimes it feels like I’m trying to catch up to something that I’ll always be behind on, but doing even just a bit each day has helped me keep my stress in check.
Things have been improving as the weather warms up and the sun is staying out longer though!
5. Sitting in a sunny area
I like to sit in a sunny area by the windows (when it isn’t overcast). I find the warmth from the sunlight is really relaxing, so I just spend a couple hours knitting, writing, or on my phone while soaking up some heat.
Doing this has also helped me manage my temperature levels a bit more (and regular exercise has helped too). I’m the type of person who is almost always a bit cold, and often in the winter it feels like a chill has just settled into my bones.
Now that spring is arriving, the sunshine is slowly soaking out that chill!
6. Making food
Another thing that I like to do when I’m stressed out is make my own food. Whether it’s spending an hour making pancakes for the whole family, or a few minutes making a mug cake in the microwave, it’s a nice way to eat some comfort food and to do something creative.